Design of Micro Hydro Power Generation to Urban Applications
Authors:John DeMarinis, Simone Evett, Aisha McKee
- Jose Saez, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Loyola Marymount University
- Matt Siniawski, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Loyola Marymount University
Micro hydro power generation (MHPG) is an appealing field to recover energy from small streams, rivers, channels and runoff. This research focused on the viability and the preliminary design of installing MHPG turbines in small-scale urban applications. The effort initially focused on applying the technology to Loyola Marymount University’s water distribution network. Energy and costs analyses concluded that MHPG may not be cost-effective or practical for the university. Relatively low pressure heads and small flows were identified as main causes for the limited benefit of the technology. As a result, the research effort shifted to the application of this technology to local wastewater treatment plants. The Los Coyotes Water Reclamation Plant, which averages 20 million gallons per day and includes a spillway head of approximately 5 feet, was selected for the analysis. The results indicated that with the use of multiple MHPG in parallel the plant could produce 9.2 kilowatts. SolidWorks software was used to develop an initial design of a small cross-flow turbine prototype to test the rate of power generation under controlled laboratory conditions in a model spillway and model weir. The protocols for installation and laboratory testing are currently being developed to improve the prototype, which will help optimize the system for potential large-scale applications.